The assortment of lights found on a vehicle’s dashboard are not there just for the show. Every driver should know that a car dashboard warning light can be an important indicator of the overall state of your car’s engine (check engine light) and other vital components of the car. Older cars still rely on dashboard warning lights, while some new models rely on screens with different indicators and statistics about your car’s status and health. While some lights can indicate that things are fine with your car, others can also be one of the first indications that something is wrong.

What Does This Car Dashboard Warning Light Mean?

Engine, battery, oil level, and brake warning lights are some of the most common important indicators that you might see light up on the dashboard. Whether it’s your own car or a rental, this is where people should diagnose the problem before they continue to drive.

Are you faced with a mysterious car dashboard warning light – and need to know just what it means?

Here’s your guide to car dashboard warning lights, and which ones are the most of a worry when you’re behind the wheel.

First, What Color Can Indicate

Drivers should know dashboard warning lights can light up in one of three colors: green, orange, or red.


Green means go, and green means all good. Lights that are green on the dashboard, are usually supposed to be on and indicate everything with your car is working great.


Orange warning lights mean that there is cause for concern. If any light on the dashboard turns orange, this is your sign that you should pull over and have your car looked at by a local auto mechanic. Usually, if a light is orange, you’re still good to drive. However, you will want to visit an auto body shop near you to diagnose the issue.


Red means stop, and it can indicate that there is a more serious issue with your car. Red dashboard warning lights are a clear indication that you should stop your vehicle immediately. In this case, it might not be safe for you (or the car) to continue driving.

Never ignore an orange warning light in your car until it goes red. Certainly never ignore a red warning light on your car’s dashboard.

Car Dashboard Warning Lights

Has something lit up on the dashboard of your car without warning? Here’s what to make of the most common car dashboard warning lights – and what possible car problems they could help to diagnose.


The vehicle’s engine light might refer to one (or several) technical issues that can be found under the hood.

If the check engine light turns orange, your car can still be safe to drive. However, it’s advised that you drive straight to a local auto shop to diagnose the issue.

If the engine light has turned red, the engine’s status is critical. Pull over at your closest auto shop, with urgency.


An orange battery light usually means that your battery is malfunctioning, or running low on charge. While you can still drive a car with an orange warning light, drive to an auto shop near you to check the issue.

A red battery light, again, means that there is a more serious battery issue.

With a red light, the battery has likely stopped holding charge completely.


An oil light means that either the car is low on oil, or out of oil. One issue – guess which? – is more dangerous to your vehicle than the other.

An oil light that is on means that you should pull over and check your oil levels. Oil is one of the most important components of a vehicle’s engine, and there are many reasons you don’t want to be without it. Take your vehicle to a local auto mechanic for further inspection if this issue arises.

Dave & Rays Automotive Repair Shop in Omaha, NE

Our team has learned one thing: automotive problems are as varied and unique as the customers who bring them to us. Fortunately, our decades of experience in auto service and repair also mean that our skilled network of professionals is ready to accommodate an impressive scope of automotive issues. Contact us today.

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